Picking Our Neighbors

Greg Boyd, in his book The Myth of a Christian Religion, tells about a friend who wanted to advertise in some shopping malls for a Christian conference. He had the contracts, and all he needed was an eye-catching poster. So, he commissioned an artist-friend to paint a picture of Jesus washing the feet of various international leaders. Among the leaders, seated in a row of chairs with Jesus at their feet, was Kofi Annan (then current Secretary-General of the United Nations), George W. Bush……and Osama bin Laden. Continue reading

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Mean What You Say

I always dreaded student council election time in high school. Everyone made such a big fuss over a relatively pointless institution. I know, I am being very negative and cynical. But, really, did your high school student council ever completely overhaul school policies and culture in such a way that they made a lasting, positive impact? I remember one presidential candidate who won on the platform of the promise of a new pop machine in the lunch room. It didn’t hurt that he was also a popular athlete.

We never saw the pop machine. Continue reading

Don’t Do Nothing

Steve Sikes, a family life minister in Pitman, NJ, told an interesting story in a bulletin article recently. He wrote about an eleven-year-old boy who received three umbrellas for Christmas. The gift may seem odd, but the reason was that a couple months before he and his mother had been traveling down the highway in a heavy rain. The boy saw a man walking in the rain, and he asked his mom if they could stop and give the man a ride. The mother explained that it was not safe to pick up strangers, even if it was raining. Her son responded, “Well, then can’t we turn around and give him our umbrella?”  So, an eleven-year-old boy got what he wanted for Christmas: a service project. Continue reading

Taking Jesus Seriously 002

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The kingdom was the message Jesus came to give the world. Some might be inclined to disagree, and to say that it was the gospel that Jesus brought to the world, but Matthew tells us that “Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (4:23, ESV; see also 9:35). The gospel of Jesus was defined by the kingdom, belonged to the kingdom, was “of the kingdom.” The good news that Jesus proclaimed was that the kingdom was at hand. Continue reading

Taking Jesus Seriously 009

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Early in His ministry, Jesus stepped out of a boat into the country of a people He had not yet visited. As His sandal-sole touched gravel, two fiercely deranged men ran out of a nearby cemetery screaming and shrieking as they came. They were shouting at the top of their lungs, “What do You want with us, Son of God!?” But, they were not their own voices that exploded from their mouths; they were the demonic voices of the spirits who possessed them. “You know it is not time for You to torment us!” A chorus of angry, tortured voices spoke in eerie unison. “If You are here to cast us out then send us into those pigs.” Continue reading

Taking Jesus Seriously 001

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It is funny how words affect us. Recently there has been some publicity surrounding the story of a bakery department in a grocery store that refused to write a little birthday boy’s name in frosting on his cake. Why the refusal? Because his first name is Adolf and his middle name is Hitler. Amazingly, the bakery staff did not want to wish Adolf Hitler a happy birthday. What is in a name? Apparently more than we like to admit. Continue reading

Taking Jesus Seriously 010

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Throughout His ministry, Jesus was rejected again and again for many different reasons by people from many different backgrounds (see Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 9:51-56; John 12:42; Luke 18:18-30), but every rejection boiled down to one objection: Jesus was not the Messiah for them. They had expectations, traditions, and interpretations that they held onto so tightly that when the Savior of all mankind appeared and offered them riches beyond measure they could not take hold of Him. Jesus was not the messiah they had pictured.

He is not the messiah that most of us picture today. Continue reading